This weekend I had a pretty great time puttering around Final Fantasy XIV. As of yesterday afternoon I am officially capped on Poetics again, and it seems like each week this is getting easier. Right now my focus is on getting my dragoon 130 weapon since I am being called upon to dps in coil occasionally, and as such I feel like I should have the best weapon available to me. Had I really been thinking straight I would have gone for the dragoon lance first instead of the axe. At this point I need to cap one more week and then part of another to end up getting the weapon. This week I got another encrypted tomestone, and this coming week I will get the carbontwine so that when I finally get the poetics together I will be ready for it. We have a minor patch tomorrow, and I would really love if they completely removed the poetics cap or at least raised it… but I don’t think that is actually going to happen.
Part of what makes my time in Final Fantasy XIV so enjoyable is the community. In some games you want to spend as little time with other players as possible, but in FFXIV we all sort of congregate in several common areas and the casual interactions with other players ends up being a pure joy. With the 2.51 patch they added the Golden Saucer and with it the Cactpot lottery system. Once a week you can buy a ticket for the big drawing, that could be worth as much a million MGP. This drawing happens every Saturday evening, and if you are there at exactly the right time you can see the above spectacle as a series of wheels raise from the floor and “roll” the new number. What is awesome is a good chunk of the community gathers around to watch this happen. I ended up chatting with a few people I had never met but that just had awesome outfits, and while I didn’t win anything other than the consolation prize… it is always a part of the week I look forward to.
Before the podcast on Saturday evening we gathered together and worked on Leviathan Extreme. Now a few weeks ago we had made some serious progress here, so we went into this adventure thinking we had a good shot at actually downing it. Levi Extreme is probably one of the more enjoyable fights in the game I have experienced. While it shares some unrecoverable mechanics with Titan Extreme, it seems to do so in a much more predictable manner. The primary difference between normal and extreme modes is that when the elemental converter goes off, Leviathan knocks the sides off the boat making the players susceptible to being knocked off in the water if you stand in the wrong places. Additionally there is a new add type that spawns that if not stun locked and burned extremely quickly can fear players off the boat. The combination of these two mechanics and the fact that if someone dies… you have a few moments to resurrect them before their corpse is knocked of… makes the fight extremely tense at times.
However we worked through all of these issues and on each attempt kept creeping closer and closer to success. I think we had about ten minutes left on the timer when we finally defeated Leviathan, but as the night went on it felt more solid. I think we could probably farm this encounter each week letting folks get their extremely awesome Leviathan weapons. The amazing part is that we actually managed to get one of the mounts to drop. These are not an every time occurrence from what I understand, and actually rather rare. Not only did we get it to drop, but I actually managed to roll high on it. Now in the above picture you can see me riding around on my splashy pony with water splash effects that it leaves behind everywhere it goes. Leviathan has always been one of my favorite summons in the Final Fantasy universe, so I am damned happy to have his pony. Hopefully we can get the guild a bunch more of these over time. You can see Thalen sporting the Leviathan fist weapons, which are the item that dropped in addition to the mount. I want the Leviathan axe so bad, so hopefully we can muster the oomph to do this one on a regular basis.
Ready for Heavensward
This morning before sitting down to write this blog post I ran my way through the new benchmark application to test systems to see if they are ready for Heavensward. I guess my system passed with flying colors, and there are some moments in the demo where it worked the hell out of my machine. I tend to play Final Fantasy XIV on a frame locked 30 fps largely because that is what I have gotten used to. I happened to be running fraps during the demo loop, and the highest frame rate I saw was around 75 fps and the lowest dip was during this “raid” section with tons of spell effects going off at around 35 fps. All in all I am pretty damned pleased with that, especially since I never run with full spell effects on. I prefer to run with the limited spell effect options because it makes 24 man raids feel less seizure inducing to be honest. As the demo played out though I have to say I am getting really amped to be playing all of this content. The world of Heavensward looks amazing, and the DX11 textures are so much clearer than what we are currently used to.
The highlight of the demo reel however is seeing the new Dragoon rank 3 limit break animation. If this is any indication then I think we are going to be really happy with all of the new class specific limit breaks. The only thing that concerns me is that the dragoon dive is a really long animation, so I am wondering what the rest of the party sees as this is going off. As you can see the Dragoon becomes a spirit dragon and then leaps up into the air crashing down on the target driving the force of the spirit dragon through it. I tried to get screenshots at good times during its animation but it really does not do it justice. Thankfully if you are stuck at work and cannot run the animation, they released a video of the entire benchmark so you can get your fix. I am really pleased with the performance of my system however and I have no doubts in my mind that I will be able to run Heavensward without issues. This whole releasing a benchmark thing is such a great idea, and I am wondering why more companies don’t do this. This way if you do need to make upgrades, you have more than enough time to figure out how you are going to do this.